Day #170: Trek day 2

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Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Kalaw
September 22nd 2013
Published: September 30th 2013
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We were surprised to find ourselves walking in bright sunshine this morning, through very different scenery from yesterday. The day started with an hour or so's walk along the train tracks. There is only one train a day, so there is no danger, but the deep puddles of water between the sleepers and the marsh either side meant we had to walk from sleeper to sleeper or try to balance along the rail, so it was difficult to find a walking rhythm. We stopped at the tiny station to watch the train passing through (it arrived about an hour late so I had time to have a Myanmar tea - a cup of tea made with thick, sweet condensed milk). Despite its size the station was lively and served as a local market, with women and men selling their farm produce from large baskets. When the train arrived goods were sold to the passengers through the train windows.

We walked the rest of the day through farmland, a less demanding walk than yesterday but no less interesting. Common crops were water rice (much of the day spent walking on the raised tracks between the waterlogged fields), ginger and cabbages. We saw few people aside from the occasional farm labourer. We did however detour to an important cave temple featuring hundreds and hundreds of Buddhas donated by people and companies from all over (one I saw from a Barbara Cohen of the USA). You have to walk barefoot through the cave, which I did not enjoy as it was damp, dank and slippery. There was a crowd of teenagers who had travelled on some kind of college trip from Yangon, all dressed in the fashionable Korean style, all neon and hoodies and baseball caps. They were very interested in us and stood out a mile in the deeply religious surroundings.

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